2015 Beer Test: Editors’ Choice

Like gear for any snow condition, there’s beer for every occasion. So this year, we organized our annual beer review by where and when our panel of home brewers, beer aficionados and a certified beer judge would prefer to drink them. The format is simple: Skintrack beers are lower in ABV and sessionable, Parking Lot/Après brews are satisfying anytime, anywhere (but particularly after skiing), and Hut to Hut beers include those special, high-ABV drinks worth a coveted spot in your pack. Then again, no matter where or how you drink these, they’ll taste good. Here are our favorites from this year’s mountain-town craft beer test.


Left to right: Lost Nation’s Lamoille Bretta, Eylsian’s Space Dust IPA and Telluride Brewing Company’s Bridal Veil India Pail Ale

Elysian Brewing Company
Space Dust IPA
Seattle, WA | ABV: 7.2%

Like skiing with a local, Space Dust doesn’t just hit the spot, it hits all the spots. One tester appreciated the “nice touch of caramel, floral hops and citrus on the first pour.” Another said, “Fruity hops explode up front then great bitterness sets in for the long haul.” “Malt supports but never interferes with the dry hop finish that leaves a lingering, pleasant aftertaste,” he added.

+ Lasting balance. Telemarkers’ choice.
– The aroma is fleeting.
= The flavor will last all the way home.

Lost Nation Brewing
Lamoille Bretta
Morrisville, VT | ABV: 6%

To craft a brew that’s universally praised by testers, Lost Nation uses Brettanomyce, a common microbe used to sour beer. Testers took note, and one found “an intoxicating aroma of Brett, light cloves and citrus.” Summarized another, “Light, malty forefront followed by light bitterness finishing to delicious waves of Brett flavor and a James Brown amount of funk that still drinks smoothly.”

+ Funky but still accessible to the non-funky.
– None.
= A mid-ABV beer worth hauling into the hut.

Telluride Brewing Co.
Bridal Veil Rye Pale Ale
Telluride, CO | ABV: 5.5%

An exceptional rye pale, Bridal Veil’s spiciness and hops meld into a sensation not of alcohol but of mouthwatering beer flavor. One tester loved the “dank floral hops and nice malt aroma,” while another mentioned the “spiciness of the rye had a pleasant sharpness that was well balanced with the hop flavors.” “The great spice flavor doesn’t linger, washing to a clean bitterness,” another concluded.

+ Pleasantly sharp flavors from the nose to the aftertaste.
– Almost too bitter.
= A spicy pale ale with plenty of character.


  1. You guys need to try the brand new Park City Brewery beer! Good stuff for 4% bv!

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